When you compare private jets to commercial flights, there’s a definite winner and a loser. One is built for comfort, privacy, and efficiency, while the other destines you for long TSA lines and hours of sitting uncomfortably close with hundreds of strangers. If you want to escape the stress of commercial airlines, a private jet membership can help you travel in luxury without paying for every flight (or for an aircraft of your own).
Renting a private jet charter was once an unattainable dream, reserved only for global leaders and celebs. But the increasing availability of membership programs is fueling the growth of private aviation across the United States.
With memberships, you no longer have to wait for inconsistent empty leg flights to hop on a private jet. Learn how you can feel like a VIP every time you book when you sign up for a charter company club.
- What Are Private Jet Memberships
- How Private Jet Memberships Work
- How Much Do Private Jet Memberships Cost?
- How to Become a Private Jet Member
- 4 Private Jet Companies to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Private Jet Memberships?
Private jet memberships — sometimes known as jet card memberships — typically give holders access to a set amount of flight hours in exchange for a fixed recurring fee. Most jet cards promise customers a specific aircraft type, so you get a reliable private charter experience that fits your travel needs every time.
Exact benefits can vary, but the perks of choosing a membership program often include:
- Guaranteed availability
- Fixed pricing for non-included flights
- On-demand flights, usually with just 24-hour notice
- Customer support for all bookings
- Consistent safety standards
When you opt for this unique payment model, you may be limited to the pick-up and drop-off destinations supported by your chartered flight company, but you’ll get the comfort of a private jet (with friends, if desired) wherever you go.
How Private Jet Memberships Work
Private jet memberships can work many ways. Your standard jet card program will allow you to call your charter company when you need to fly, and they’ll help you set up a flight on the exact type of aircraft for which you’re paying.
You may have your flight time deducted from your prepaid hours each time you book, or you may need to pay additional rates or fees on top of your recurring fees.
When it comes time for your scheduled flight, you’ll be able to breeze through a private terminal and jump into a relaxing ride — some with a full crew for even greater luxury.
How Much Do Private Jet Memberships Cost?
Private jet memberships aren’t exactly cheap air travel, but it’s the most cost-effective option for anyone who plans to frequently charter flights.
Recurring membership fees can range from around $400 to a few thousand dollars per month, depending on the specific air charter benefits you’re seeking. The most expensive memberships can come with enormous luxuries, like unlimited flights, larger private aircrafts, and priority support.
If you’re paying an initiation fee instead of or on top of recurring fees, paying tens of thousands of dollars is pretty standard.
Beyond the cost of membership, some companies may charge cancellation fees, fuel surcharges, and other hidden fees. As such, make sure you read the fine print as you’re choosing your membership to spot any potential additional costs.
Even with these fees, getting a private jet membership is likely much more cost-effective than owning a private jet. Without the need to pay for and manage a crew, insurance, maintenance, and more, your private flight will simply be a relaxing ride that you can enjoy without investing in.
How to Become a Private Jet Member
Most private jet membership programs make it easy to join. All you need to do is head to the company’s website and fill in an interest form or make a phone call. A customer service representative will help you get everything you need squared away.
However, some companies won’t officially give you your private jet card until you make a deposit. This deposit may be significant — we’ve seen some deposit requirements exceeding $100,000. But all this money will get back to you eventually.
4 Private Jet Companies to Consider
So, which specific private jet companies can you choose from? A lot are rising in the U.S. aviation scene, but here are some of the standouts we’ve found.
1. Wheels Up
Wheels Up is a well-known private jet company that allows members to book their flights using a mobile app. Currently, the company offers three membership options — Connect, Core, and Business — each of which meets the unique needs of members.
Memberships require a one-time initiation fee (ranging from $2,995 to $29,500) and annual dues (ranging from $2,495 to $14,500) that start after your first year of joining. Every member can access smaller light jets, midsize jets, and full-size large-cabin jets — with bookings guaranteed for higher-tier members.
While you still need to pay for every flight you take, you can lock in rates by paying for flight hours instead of paying as you fly. You can also save by connecting with other members on the app to share flights.
With a top-tier membership, you can book a guaranteed flight just 24 hours in advance — and you have 24-hour access to the support team so that you can book anytime.
NetJets is a leader in private aviation that has been around for nearly 60 years. While the company offers a few types of membership options, the most comparable one to the others we’re reviewing in this guide is the Marquis Card Program.
Through this program, you’ll pay set costs in exchange for your desired amount of flight hours. You’ll have the option to choose 25 hours or more, going up in 25-hour increments. Though the company doesn’t openly list its pricing, it promises no initiation fees, repositioning fees, annual dues, or other hidden costs.
Since NetJets is a global company, you’ll have access to one of the biggest fleets of planes, which means there are few limits to where you can go. Plus, you can book in as little as 10 hours in advance.
Another perk is that most NetJet aircrafts are no more than five years old. With a highly experienced pilot behind the wheel, you won’t have to worry about safety. NetJets was one of the first adopters of the FAA’s Aviation Safety Action Program, so they’re fully committed to your well-being.
3. Delta Private Jets
Chartering a flight from Delta, one of the largest commercial airlines in the U.S., may not be something you’ve considered, but the company has a great private jet membership program. Costing $8,500 your first year, then $6,000 annually after that, a Delta Private Jets Card lets you lock in rates for your flights — up to 20% off typical rates — for two years.
Just like NetJets, Delta Private Jets won’t charge any hidden fees. However, you must make a minimum $150,000 deposit to get started, so you’ll need to keep this investment in mind.
Every member can access up to five different aircraft types, each equipped with Wi-Fi and 24/7 customer service. Cardholders may also access luxurious airport transfers, flight upgrades, and more.
Finally, XOJET is another large-scale private jet company that has become a go-to service for major organizations in the U.S. (including the NFL during the Super Bowl). XOJET offers some of the most affordable membership plans on the market.
XOJET private jet memberships start at just $595 per year (for up to 15 hours) and you can save money by selling seats and booking seats on other members’ jets. On the high end, you can get an Elite membership for $1,000 per month ($100,000 deposit required) to access guaranteed flights with just a 24-hour notice. Each flight you purchase comes with up to $250 in catering credits and zero cancellation fees ever.
Frequently Asked Questions
Private jet memberships are perfect for any traveler in search of luxurious flights year-round. Learn more about your options with these FAQs:
1. Are there any limits to when I can book flights as a private jet member?
While most private jet memberships do allow you to book year-round, some companies charge more for bookings on peak dates, including holidays. Make sure you understand the terms of your membership before you make a commitment.
2. Can I cancel my private jet membership at any time?
It depends on the company and the membership you choose. It’s fairly common for private jet companies to require annual agreements, though some do allow flexible month-to-month memberships. Many brands do charge for a year upfront, so even though you can cancel at any time, you won’t be able to give up your remaining months to get a refund.
3. Can I fly with these private jet companies without a membership?
Absolutely. Most private jet companies, including the ones listed here, do offer one-off flights. Memberships are simply designed to keep costs low and offer more perks to frequent fliers. If you just want the experience of chartering a flight once, you can usually expect higher per-trip pricing than rates offered to members.
Get the Flights of Your Dreams
Private air travel is growing in popularity, and the memberships that private jet companies are offering is making it more accessible by the day. Private jet memberships may still be pricey for the average person. Nevertheless, if you’re willing to spend, you’ll get the ultimate luxury of exceptional service, extra comfort, and no wait times to get to your gate from your private terminal.
Want to learn about another private jet travel company, where no membership is needed? Head to our Executive Jet Management guide for more information about the company’s services.